Archive for the ‘memoir’ Category

Law of the Sea Campaign – 1975   Leave a comment

Judith Bloomgardener died on November 11, 2011.  Several of her friends are now in the process of editing her memoir with a goal of eventually publishing the work.  In the meantime, the plan is to post some episodes from the memoir on this blog as they become available.  The work below is from one of Judy’s notebooks (a blue one).

Law of the Sea Campaign – 1975

Working on the monthly newsletter for the Pacific Life Community,  I happened on electrifying news!  The world was rallying (so it seemed) to create a new Law of the Sea – sponsored by the United Nations – to protect the mineral legacy of the deep sea commons.  Translated into Judyese, these mineral deposits – manganese nodules – were the eggs of the dragon mother – la mere, el mar.  With that Judith aspect of myself, I resolved to defend her.  It seems comical now, but I was in deepest earnest as I hastily put together, envisaged, arranged, found the resources for and carried out a Law of the Sea campaign – pouring myself into it to the exclusion of everything else – letting go of the fight against the Trident, less compelling to me than the fight on behalf of the dragon mother of the Sea——-in my mythology, the mother of us all.  It came together in weeks – the loan from the American Friends Service Committee of ‘Van Gogh’, a sunflower yellow van in which we could transport the Earth Ballthe Earth Ball, a 6-foot in diameter canvas covered, inflatable sphere that my new dear friend Betty paid for – and paid to have spray-painted with the green continents and the blue sea.  I found a dragon puppet and wangled an actual manganese nodule from Friends of the Earth (FOE), an environmentalist organization which had taken on the Law of the Sea issue.  My contact at FOE had initially been unwilling to lend me his manganese nodule – so I went to a Chinatown novelty store a block away and bought a dragon head and a wooden sword, then returned to the FOE office, sword in hand and dragon head over my own head, claiming to be delegated by the dragon mother.  Mark couldn’t hold out – and I managed to leave with the nodule before he could get me arrested.  My friend Shelley and my 12-year-old son Jim signed on to accompany me, and off we went, stopping at all the coastal towns and cities from Seattle up north to San Diego down south. We’d camp or stay on the floor of some local peace activist, setting up our table on a populous street corner with our flyers showing the Dragon guarding her nodules, and stopping traffic with our huge earth ball.  We’d phone the local media who, in most cases, would send someone to interview us.  It was fun and typical of my style of political work – passionate, artistic, individualistic – and not linked into any vision of actually affecting power at the highest levels – where policy is made.  No, my way was always to speak to the man and woman on the street.  To this day, I don’t know if this did any good, but it was my way, from deep in my heart.

Who Should Own the Sea?

The Law of the Sea traveling circus began and ended at the Sunnyvale Lockheed plant where we’d so often vigiled against the Trident.  Lockheed was at the forefront of the efforts to seize the minerals on the deep sea bed.  It had developed a special deep sea  steamshovel-like vehicle called the Glomar Explorer.  When I heard the  news about Lockheed’s plans regarding the manganese nodules, I went to see the Public Relations director.  I asked him why, in defiance of the calls for justice and conservation, Lockheed would go after the nodules?  “Because,” he said, “Americans need their toasters.” At the end of our journey, thus, we held a Saturday rally in front of Lockheed headquarters.  We named it Toaster Giveaway Day.  Dozens of comrades from the peace movement donated their toasters in protest against Lockheed’s deep sea ambitions.  30+ years later, it still makes me smile to think of the Lockheed PR man oafishly accepting the toasters as media covered the event.  For 2 years thereafter, we had no toaster.  I’d make toast in the broiler of our oven, more than once singeing my eyebrows in the process.

Toaster Day


A note from Kate: I was just talking to a friend about how, the older one gets, the harder one’s life story gets to believe. Nice to have this corroborating evidence for at least one of my crazy stories. How I missed having a toaster from age 11-13. The only reason we got a new one was because (by happy accident) I lit the oven on fire and melted the broiler . Below, I stand by the earth ball contemplating the the loss of our toaster while sporting a singularly regrettable haircut.

Earth Ball